Our Greatest Glory Is Not In Never Falling, But In Rising Every Time We Fall. (Confucius)

A dragon rising over a tiger
A mythical dragon sparring with a tiger.

This is another one of my all-time favorite quotes because it speaks to the most important life skill any one can develop: resilience. Our greatest glory as human beings is not in never falling because whether we fall does not always depend on our actions. As human beings we are highly limited by our genetics, the environment, and the actions of other people. Things beyond our control often bring us to our knees. Being rejected by a loved one, not getting into a favorite university, losing a job, chronic illness, and disease. These are just a few of life’s unpreventable challenges, a list we can all add to effortlessly.

Sylvester Stallone starring as Rocky Balboa said it best.

The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth, but you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!

King Solomon arrived at a similar conclusion.

For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.

Proverbs 24:16

Resilience is about learning to get better instead of bitter when adversity strikes. It is an ability that separates the winners from the losers, the happy from the miserable, and the righteous from the unrighteous. It involves the capacity to focus on what we want to focus on. To focus on what builds us up rather than what tears us down. Anyone with focus is in control of their life, while anyone who lacks it is at the mercy of events beyond their control.

It’s not the walk-off home run nor the game-winning shot nor the go-ahead touchdown that best showcases the human spirit. The human spirit lies in overcoming adversity. It is the resolve rooted deeply in a human being that provides motivation to get up and keep moving forward in spite of difficult circumstances.

Leave a Reply